Wishing you hope and kindness this Christmas

For many, the festive period will always bring mixed and complicated emotions.

It can be a time to celebrate with loved ones and a time to reflect on the challenges we have faced, but for many people it’s also a time when those who are no longer with us are missed the most.

In political life, it is important at this time of year to take stock, ask searching questions of ourselves, and of each other, to consider the impact on people from the past year’s work.

The Scottish Greens campaigned under our new slogan this year: For people. For planet.

It was designed to serve not just as a rallying call for supporters and those who might be persuaded to lend us their votes, but as a reminder of why we do what we do and to recognise the progress we’ve made on both fronts through action in Parliament and in Government this year.

When we introduced a rent freeze and protection against evictions, it was to alleviate the impact of the cost of living crisis. It was to prevent even more people being left facing the threat of losing their homes at this incredibly challenging time.

We can be proud of that, but we refuse to sit back and accept that the need for it can’t be changed.

It is a cruel fact that poverty exists at all. But it is not inevitable. While the Scottish Child Payment has risen, while all social security benefits have gone up, and as we extend free meals in primary schools, we cannot rest until we tackle the root causes.

This year Scottish Greens have helped to win stronger equal rights for trans people, in the face of a frighteningly abusive and radicalised campaign of hatred against them.

At times this has been worse than anything from the bad old days of Section 28. But the backlash of prejudice failed then, and it will fail again.

As we roll out improvements to the heating and energy supply in our homes, as we plough funds at last into nature and biodiversity restoration, expand free travel and redouble our work on tackling the climate crisis, we should look back on our work this year with satisfaction, but also with determination to do more, and with hope.

Hope can be hard work in these difficult times. But to give it up is to accept that the world cannot be a better, fairer, greener place.

We won’t do that. This Christmas we have hope in the progress we’re making, and in Scotland’s capacity to do even better.

So we wish you well in this season of goodwill, whether you are alone or with friends or family, if you are filled with cheer or facing the toughest of times, let’s reach out to one another, and carry hope and kindness into the New Year.

Lorna Slater and Patrick Harvie, Co-leaders of the Scottish Greens